Private Casser slogged through the mud and rubble. The late afternoon sun was at his back, leaving him to trudge endlessly into his own shadow. Patches of reeds stood in tall, defiant patches, but the radiation would do its work for years and years until the reeds yielded like the buildings that had come before them. One such building stood in his path now.
The two-story gothic windows had all been vaporized, liberated from their wrought iron frames. Private Casser entered through one such window. He had no need to duck, the hole in the window was so large. He brushed aside brunt curtains that hung as still as shrouds from the vaulted ceiling high above. The runoff covered the grand ballroom from wall to wall. Until his arrival, the room had been as silent as a vacuum since the blast.
“Tek two-one, deploy.” The sound of his own voice in the bereaved silence seemed to be a desecration, but a necessary one. The reflective orb hissed out of his pack and floated behind him, humming softly.
He didn’t expect to find survivors, but if he was going to run into them, it would be here. He clicked off the safety on his JN-4 particle rifle. “Sweep the area,” he said.
Notes: I used an image as a writing prompt for this piece. You may be able to find the image on the artist’s ArtStation page.